Akash Agarwal had a rocky start when he immigrated to Boston from England: Although Harvard Business School had accepted him into its MBA program, banks denied him a student loan because he had no credit history in the U.S.

Agarwal eventually scraped together scholarships, grants, and family contributions and earned his MBA. And when banks recently began toughening their credit requirements— some dropping student loans entirely—he decided to pay it forward and cofound GreenNote, a new...


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